DELAND, FL – Volusia Sheriff’s detectives are investigating after an elderly DeLand couple reported being scammed out of $25,000 to bail out a caller who pretended to be their granddaughter who was in legal trouble.
According to detectives, the victims reported the fraud Monday to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office: A woman identifying herself as their granddaughter had called and said she was involved in a vehicle accident in South Carolina and needed $12,500 for bail to be released from jail. The caller told them a courier would pick up the money and instructed them to place it in a shoebox.
The couple secured the money and followed instructions, notifying the female caller when it was ready. Shortly afterward, a male courier collected the money and drove away.
A few hours later, the couple received another phone call, this time from a woman claiming to be their granddaughter’s lawyer. The “lawyer” stated the other accident victim was pregnant and the baby had died. The granddaughter was possibly going to be charged with vehicular homicide and the judge had set bail at $25,000, so she needed another $12,500.
The victims again complied and a different driver appeared to pick up the money.
When a third call came, this time from a man stating he was a prosecutor in the case and another $10,000 was needed to help their granddaughter avoid prison for 10 years, the couple knew something was wrong and contacted the Volusia Sheriff for help. This is an active investigation.
This type of impostor scam is known as “Grandparents Scam” in which impostors pose as law enforcement officers who call grandparents claiming their grandchild is in jail. The caller demands immediate payment to bail the grandchild out of jail. Or, in cases such as the DeLand incident, someone pretending to be the grandchild calls and says they’ve been mugged or detained in another country and need money to return home.
To avoid falling for this type of scam, anyone who receives a similar call should listen to your gut, verify the grandchild’s whereabouts through another source and avoid acting immediately. If you have any doubt upon receiving such a call, hang up and call our non-emergency number for help: (386) 248-1777.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website myfloridalegal.com has important information on how to avoid becoming a victim of imposter and other scams.